Here are the Talking Points from the Boston Bruins 3-1 win over the Washington Capitals in Game 5 at Capital One Arena that clinched the series in five games for the Black and Gold.
GOLD STAR: Patrice Bergeron always brings his best at the biggest moments and he did it again in Game 5 to eliminate the Washington Capitals. Bergeron scored two goals including the game-winner against the Capitals, and it was his steal of a TJ Oshie backhanded pass and short-side strike against Ilya Samsonov that locked up the series for the Bruins. Bergeron finished with the two goals, a plus-1 rating, nine shot attempts, a hit, two takeaways and 15-for-25 face-off wins in 17:36 of dominant ice time. The way that Bergeron and his Perfection Line linemates went to work in the third period, after giving up that goal on the opening shift of the period, was something to watch. Bergeron is Boston’s best player and when he comes to play like he did on Sunday night against Washington, the Bruins are pretty much impossible to beat.
BLACK EYE: Nicklas Backstrom was pretty much invisible for the entire playoff series and that was the case again for Sunday night’s Game 5 against the Bruins. He finished with one assist in the five game series with a minus-2 rating and he really wasn’t noticeable at all in 20:25 of ice time with their playoff lives on the line in Game 5. Clearly some Capitals players were better than others and guys like Alex Ovechkin and TJ Oshie were factors early in the series, but Backstrom at no point was any kind of a factor against the Black and Gold. Top players like that having disappearing acts is a big reason why the Capitals couldn’t get past five games against a Bruins team they usually give all kinds of trouble to when they meet.
TURNING POINT: The turning point for the Boston Bruins was the dazzling second period goal from David Pastrnak that knocked the Capitals on their heels. Pastrnak pulled a toe drag between-his-legs dangle past Nic Dowd and then cut right through the front of the net while freezing Nick Jensen and hooking a shot around Ilya Samsonov’s leg pads. It was a highlight reel goal that gives the red-hot Pastrnak two goals in as many games and truly lifts the spirits of the Bruins bench in a game. Conversely it deflated the Capitals as well, who really didn’t show any kinds of true life until scoring in the first shift of the third period. Once Pastrnak really starts feeling it offensively, it really puts opponents at a big time disadvantage against a Boston Bruins team playing good hockey even before he began on his goal-scoring tear.
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HONORABLE MENTION: Tuukka Rask became the winningest playoff goalie in Bruins history with his Game 4 victory but got the more important win of the series on Sunday night with 40 saves for the Black and Gold. Rask was brilliant throughout, but he was at his best in the second period stopping all 20 shots he faced while the Bruins did a good job of clearing out traffic in front of him. Rask couldn’t be blamed for the Conor Sheary goal he gave up on a rebound snipe in the first shift of the third period, and another goal for Lars Eller was wiped off the board after reviews showed that Evgeny Kuznetsov cross-checked him in the back just prior to the goal. Rask finished the five-game series with a .940 save percentage against the Capitals and was one of several dominant forces playing at a high level for the Black and Gold.
BY THE NUMBERS: 24 – the number of points for Patrice Bergeron in potential series-clinching games in the playoffs with 11 goals and 24 points that ranks him second in Boston Bruins franchise history behind David Krejci (8 goals, 28 points).
QUOTE TO NOTE: “Let’s face it, our tops guys came through tonight. And our soldiers were very good.” –Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy talking about all his best players coming to play for the Game 5 win to eliminate the Washington Capitals.